Sunday, December 30, 2007

Forward Momentum

2008 ... that's a lot of numbers! I tend to think of time in terms of my own lifespan, but when I consider what's occurred just since 1900 I'm amazed. Then again, when I look back even farther (that's to say I know a little something about history) I am reminded that time brings with it all sorts of opportunity and adventure, mayhem and clamor, rich heritage and scornful shame. It's enough to make you reticent to take the next step, or bold enough to leap ahead with joy. I opt for the latter, knowing the best is yet to come.

Don’t be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps. --Buckminster Fuller

Ready to leap into 2008?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Higher Reflections

I've long been a fan of Dr. Henry Blackaby. His writing inspires me, and often it opens a gateway for better understanding of the Scriptures. His website is chocked full of resources (http://www.blackaby.org/), with daily devotions posted there as well. Today's is especially poignant so I quote a portion of it here:

"True worship is life-changing! It creates within the worshiper’s heart a hatred for sin. True worship results in repentance, obedient submission, and a desire for holiness (Isa. 6:1–8). True worship generates a desire to show mercy and to express forgiveness. It includes a joyful acceptance of all that God has provided by His grace. True worship is not exclusive. Just as the Samaritan woman rushed off to tell others of her encounter with the Lord, so true worship will compel the worshiper to include others... The one who has truly worshiped will have a sense of peace and a confident expectation of what God is about to do. True worship produces a transformed life, reflecting the One who has been worshiped."

The word "reflecting" stands out. Since I'm still reflecting on what's passing with 2007 (and the other of my 59 years of life) I think I ought to include an assessment of just what (or Who) I'm reflecting ...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Long Ago

Tell me the tales that to me were so dear -
Long, long ago, long, long ago;
Sing me the songs I delighted to hear,
Long, long ago, long ago.
*
This is the refrain to a song that has delighted my ear on more than one occasion. On this merriest of Christmas Eves I cannot help but think of the days when, as a child, a sweeter and simpler Christmas tradition graced this land. The tales and songs of those days have changed little, but the lack-luster spirit of this modern season is pale by comparison.
*
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the dear and precious delights of the home you made. It's as real to me now as it was then ... long, long ago.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

(Wonder)ing

I love words. Sometimes I run across a particular word and find myself musing over it, or rolling it over my tongue as I might a fine wine (I don't drink) or a tasty morsel. I consider the depths of a meaning, and even the finer nuances of usage. The word "wonder" is one of those words.

Merriam Webster says this: 1 a: a cause of astonishment or admiration : 2a.
the quality of exciting amazed admiration3 a: rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one's experience b: a feeling of doubt or uncertainty

Today I'm wondering about "wonder". Just what could elicit such raptness? What could be considered so awesomely mysterious as to captivate my thoughts and imagination? I know of few occurrences beyond the amazing mystery of God becoming man - Immanuel - God with us.

Christmas - or, rather the One it honors - is such a wonder, and so very wonderful !

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Aberrence

I'm not feeling so sassy today. Rather, I'm sickened and saddened by the number of reports that turn up daily that are related to child abuse. These range from abductions to rape, emotional/physical abuse to murder - even to the pimping of little ones into virtual or real prostitution. Sandwiched in between these headlines and the stories they contain are the unreported but unimaginable nightmares these children, whether they're toddler or teen, have had to endure.

Dragging out my soapbox is tempting. But I don't know where I'd begin. Worse, I don't know where I'd end.

Right now I simply weep for them, and pray - as well as for all those that have come to believe that children are merely objects or pawns in an ever-increasing cycle of predatory behavior. I wonder too ... have we so cheapened life (a soapbox subject) that this sort of aberrence is likely to increase? I wonder ...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wish I'd Said That

" ... we have a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable. The contingency we have not considered looks strange; what looks strange is therefore improbable; what seems improbable need not be considered seriously." Thomas O. Schelling, economist & professor of foreign affairs, national security, nuclear strategy and arms control at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

I can't help but wonder how many things we simply will not consider because they're strange?

Friday, November 23, 2007

So Far

As I peer into what seems to be the cavern of 2008, I am mindful of the extraordinarily rich year that 2007 has been. This may be a bit premature - after-all, New Year's resolutions aren't due for another few weeks. But it's not resolutions I'm wanting to establish; it's reflections I hope to sort. I'm not ready to look too far ahead, yet a glance at what is passing is amazing.
In the beauty of a crystal sea ...
comes images that with ease I see.
Images of glory's heights;
images of fearful sights.
Blended as a painted hue;
these are things that I hold true.
God's own grace and gentle hand;
goodness in this lovely land.
I glance behind, I look askance -
nothing here is left to chance.
Purpose and much poetry,
is what the Lord has granted me.
And so this year, it passes by -
even as I search the sky -
For His return and summon call;
that which I hold best of of all
.
To gather my reflections I've been glancing backwards to my journal, my DayTimer, old email, my checkbook, and even to my memory. I take a peak at the momentous news events of the year, even to some that aren't so momtous but that carry a powerful portent to me.

I guess what I'm saying is that my reflections cover a wide range of ponderings, and an equally wide range of subjects. Not terribly profound, I'll admit - but the collection is part of who I am, what I know, and how I'll move forward in the year(s) to come. They are what I know to be true. In fact, were I to give them a title it might read something like: "Life is Amazing", or "Can it Get Any Better?". The over-riding theme would be one of gratitude. I've arrived at today - safe in the trustworthy arms of a Savior that has promised me safe (though perilous) passage.

Perhaps the crowning glory here is that I've lasted 59 years. I'll enter my 60s come February. Today I can say with abandon that the best is yet to come, and that no reflection can equal or surpass that in which I boast most proudly and assuredly: the cross of Christ and its amazing power in my life!
Thank you, Lord, for 2007!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Living Thankfully

Across America folks are preparing for a day of feasting and fun. Just four days from now the smells of roasting turkey and pumpkin pie seasonings will likely silence all talk of global warming. Afterall, just think how much heat we could eliminate if we simply refrained from turning on our ovens. But no one on earth would suggest such a thing with stuffed turkey at stake! Now that's something for which to be thankful!

OK, so much for my sassy stuff. Today I'm turning to something more somber. It has to do with the context of Thanksgiving in general, and what a disturbing twist it is that God-loving people must celebrate in a clandestine way if they are to applaud the goodness of God. While men are arguing about whether to call a "Christmas" tree by some other, less offensive name (remember, a rose is still a rose by any other name) they are also re-writing history lest - God forbid - some child would be deceived into thinking that our country was founded on faith and prayer.

To grab a personal reality check about the early settlers, I visited a number of historical websites recently. There I discovered anew the Mayflower Pact, the historical account of the early harvest festivals, and the statements of faith and prayer offered by our forefathers. I was charmed, proud and thankful that they had the audacity to give glory to God and to actually thank Him for their blessings. Yet today we have an illustrious group of revisionists that would have us believe no such thing occurred; no such words were spoken. It was merely a coincidence that America was discovered at all. If thanksgiving was and is appropriate, it's because of man's ingenuity and goodness - in their eyes.

Following my virtual history lesson I looked upon the text in Esther. There in Chapter three I saw Haman, the next of kin to today's revisionists. He is alive and well, leaving a legacy about how to silence anyone that insisted on living a godly life and professing faith in the One, true God: Kill 'em! Not only that, kill all their kind as well. We read: Esther 3:5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. 6 Yet having learned who Mordecai's people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai's people ..."

As I compile my list of "Things for Which I'm Thankful", at the very top will come this:
1. Life - the kind found only in the Son, and that Son being none other than Jesus Christ.

The next on my list will be this:
2. The words of those early settlers that establish so well God's place in their hearts and on our American soil: Our corn [i.e. wheat] did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering, for we we feared they were too late sown. They came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom. Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. (Edward Winslow's account, which he wrote in a letter dated December 12, 1621)

Happy Thanksgiving. God be praised!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fair Dinkum

While sitting in the doctor's office the other day I was browsing through a ten-year-old magazine and ran across a term I hadn't heard in a long time: Fair Dinkum. It's slang from the Australian language which means the real deal, true. Or, as I further discovered on the internet:
Fair Dinkum was a response of the early Chinese goldminers to the question:
"Are you finding a fair amount of gold?" because "din-gum" means "good gold".
So over time the expression has become a positive response to a good news
story.

I stared at the term for a long time. Though slang, it connotes a poignancy that I find difficult to attribute to much of anything. I mean, if at the lowest common denominator we are to consider "good gold" the aboslute embodiment of the real deal, then something tells me we're in big trouble. Worse, what if we're calling something good gold when it's actually fool's gold.

Pondering the term further, I decided it's a fitting tribute to truth - truth that's genuine, real, rock solid - Truth with a name: "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life'." (John 14:6). He (Jesus) was either a raving maniac, or He was and is Truth personified, which would then mean His every word is also truth.

I've heard people speak the truth. I've heard people claim to know the truth. But I've never heard of or known anyone who actually claims to Be Truth. That's a Fair Dinkum title if ever there was one. You can be sure there are no legitimate contenders. The unfair ones would be Unfair Dinkum.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Yesteryear

Some words show up on the scene with a flash only to find their way to the archives for lack of use - some with a slow demise, and others with a swift boot. The word "yesteryear" is one such though I can't say whether it's use was short-lived or not. I just know it's not a common word today. I also know that when I heard it recently my senses perked as though beckoned by a scented breeze. Good things came to mind, and immediately I was a small child riveted by the Lone Ranger, or then a bit order smitten by Captain James T. Kirk.

Now that I'm a Sassy Granny there are lots of yesteryears to ponder. I like that thought. It gives history a new poignancy and memories an emotional scrapbook.

Yesteryear. How long ago would that cover? I'm thinking "In the beginning ... " sounds right even though my own personal yesteryears don't quite reach back that far. My heart does though.

I'm going to resurrect that word and use it often.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ounces & Pounds

Practical wisdom is just so ... well, practical. It's true that the simplest of concepts often make the most sense. They can even pack the biggest wallop. Yet it seems that most of us head straight for the complex. We may not label it complex, and we may not even realize what we've gotten ourselves into until that day we go looking for some culprit (God forbid we look at our own choices).

My comments probably seems like huge, global, uninformed assessments. Maybe so. But the evidence reveals how very averse are we to wisdom, not to mention moral living. Here's the deal ... I've lived long enough (remember the other side of sassy is "granny") to witness a good many people that would prefer to be free of boundaries and advice in order to live or behave according to what feels right or good at the moment. Oh the heartache of that shallow thinking. Somewhere down stream, when these same folks have been assaulted by the depths of pain and discouragement you can often find them sitting on the sidelines of life scratching their heads, and asking themselves: How the heck did I get here?

It occurs to me that some sage soul has given us a prescription worth swallowing: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Wow, that's profound! But who wants to live with the ounce when it might mean self-sacrifice, moral choices, saying "no", or require some other discipline that seems much too confining at the time? Even though you promise them that the ounce is literally more valuable than the pound you may be on the receiving end of blank stares, guffaws, and patronizing platitudes.

I may be sassy but I'm not stupid. Give me the ounce now and keep the pound.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

All That's Good

This week I've been enjoying the delights of my visiting granddaughter. She's 11 now, and probably one of the purest and dearest souls on the planet. I know ... that sounds an awful lot like a bragging grandma. Truth is, it's true. This young lady embodies all that is good about humanity and life. She's honest and kind and loving. She has an amazing sense of humor. She enjoys school, and helping with chores, and taking care of the things that belong to her and others. She's responsible and takes pride in everything she does. She can be sassy (wonder where she gets that?) and naughty like any child, but at her core she's just plain good.

I wonder how life will treat this one when at last she is full grown and on her own. I know from what I see on T.V. and in the news that her world of decency will be challenged by a world that mocks decency. Yes, I said "mock". As long as good people do noble things like pray, or affirm virtue, or go to Church, or believe in God quietly and obscurely they are welcome to mingle with the masses. Let them be not-so-obscure and the welcome mat is rolled up.

While I'm in the wondering mode I look at the role models offered this young generation. I won't name names because my heart hurts for the many young girls and boys who live in the entertainment and sports arenas. All too often they are void of virtue, espousing a worldliness that ultimately leads either to rehab or nowhere. To counter-balance their impact on the culture, not to mention the family, the parent and grandparent has a tremendous challenge. Our walk and talk must have congruity, and withstand scrutiny. Our own role models ought to be deserving of admiration and respect. In the end children really do learn what they live.

People often brandish about the word "character" as though it's their own over-riding value. It ought to be, but I'm wondering if they realize Webster defines it to be "moral excellence." I can't for the life of me figure out how people claim to have moral excellence when so few of those lives meet the acid test. That "moral" thing gets in the way every time. Indeed, we all have chinks in our armor. But I've seen an awful lot of armor-less folks running around claiming to be suited up just fine.

Today I am watching character on two feet. It's a little girl that gets it, and my prayer is that she'll be getting it still at 14 and 20 and 33 and 48 ... She's solid gold - and a role model for this Sassy Granny!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Alignment

This morning my husband was standing in front of our bathroom mirror, painfully aware of how mis-aligned is his body following years of sports and just plain old-fashioned aging. He recently began seeing a Chiropractor, so both he and I are getting an education in muscular/skeletal health. We now better understand what a healthy spinal column looks like, and what amazing functions it performs as the conduit of information between body and brain. If it's out of whack, so too are the messages. And the longer it's out of whack, the more likely the body will buy into the whacky signals being sent. Osteo-arthritis fits this description; so too many other degenerative bone conditions that are exacerbated by something fancy called Subluxation.

The Chiropractor went on to explain how a mis-aligned spinal column, even once it's re-aligned has a will to return to the old mis-aligned state. No matter how painful that other state was, the body "remembers" the way it was and wants to go back to a place that was familiar, though not exactly pleasant.

It was during his mirror observation that my husband made a comment that at once morphed into a Sassy Granny "aha!". He said, "At my age, and as many years as my body has grown accustomed to this painful, unnatural alignment, I wonder what it'll take to put it in proper order and keep it there." We laughed a little while we commiserated about the aging process, and then it occurred to me that sin works in exactly this same way in our lives.

Using myself as the guinea pig I will tell you that I spent a good many years doing life my way. It wasn't all bad, nor did I behave in ways that were obviously wrong or evil (except for the times when I did). In fact, much of what I believed or did was perfectly "normal" in terms of the world's ways. Then came a day when I had one of those watershed moments that forever altered the course of my life. It was the beginning of the end of worldly living.

Keeping my spiritual spine in healthy alignment is a process not unlike that which was described by the Chiropractor. It's a process of daily alignment and adjustments. It's knowing when when a Sublixation has caused mis-alignment. It's never, never, never getting comfortable with the mis-shapen. And it's a process that's far easier to prevent than to cure, so the earlier you get and stay aligned the better!

Wow. Who'd have thought a mirror and a Sassy Grandpa would make for such a poignant lesson.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

In Plain Sight

Some things are so elementary it seems almost silly to speak about them. Like how good it is to be alive. Or how fun is a Disneyland vacation. What I'm about to share here is as elementary as elementary comes, yet it is so profound that it's worth pondering - - no doubt just as it has been pondered down through the ages.

Just the other day I headed out for an early morning walk; so early, in fact, that the night sky hadn't yet been intimidated into retreat by the morning light. That's to say it was dark. Very dark. Across the wide expanse above me was a profusion of stars. I found myself staring as if I were seeing them for the first time, wondering how many times in a lifetime a Sassy Granny like me has stopped to take notice of them. I dare say too infrequently.

A thought struck me; several actually. First, what I can see in the night sky with my naked eye is but a fraction of the untold number of stars and planets out there. Second, during the day, when the sun has seemingly erased the heavens and replaced them with a blue hue, or with clouds, those same twinkling orbs are still out there. Third, just because I don't look for something doesn't mean it isn't there, or doesn't exist. Elementary, indeed! But what isn't so elementary is that fact that we mortals go through life choosing, opining, believing, deciding, evaluating, judging nearly everything by what we can see, giving little or no thought to what we can't see.

Something tells me our short-sightedness is a far greater hazard (and utter loss) than we realize.

I will never again look at the starry night sky without wondering what else I may be missing because I'm not looking for it, or because I simply can't see it.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cat's in the Cradle

The best part of being a Sassy Granny is being a Granny. In my case, six amazing young people embellish my life and affectionately call me "Grandma". I absolutely love children, and these most of all! Thus I have an ear to news stories when something disturbing and children are combined. I am appalled at the increasing number of these stories.

I may be a Granny, but I'm far from old. Just a few short years ago I was a child myself, and I vividly recall a childhood almost entirely void of vicissitudes. That's not to say we didn't have our share of difficulty - from the deaths of loved ones to losses of employment to threadbare finances.

From those years of relative innocence in the 50s and 60s, I arrive at today. While life is rich and full of wonder, the days of innocence are all but lost. I am often grieved to hear the number of stories related to the abuse of children - stories of internet predators, abductions, assaults, murders. Often it is at the hands of the parent that these crimes are perpetrated. How sad that we must warn our children about "stranger danger", or monitor closely their whereabouts at all times, including on the internet. Going outdoors to play is not the carefree endeavor that it was for most of us as youth.

Of equal gravity are the children themselves who often assault or murder, many of them barely beyond grade school. It defies the imagination.

There appears to be no easy or quick solution.

Recently I watched a program about some of the elephants of Pilaneserg Reserve in South Africa. They were wrecking tremendous havoc by indiscriminate killing of rhinos. What researchers discovered is that these males had been orphaned while very young, having neither male nor female role modeling as they matured. Their bazaar behaviors morphed as they matured, growing more-and-more atypical in the process. Some attempted to mate with the rhino population and when their advances were spurned, they killed the rhino. Others killed out of bullying or sporting behaviors. The "fix" came in the form of a large adult bull who very quickly asserted the proper code-of-behavior for elephants.

Why do I share this? Well, I'm thinking we adults have all too often abdicated our roles are parents, protectors and moral tutors leaving our children at risk, their upbringing to chance or to some method we make up as we go. Worse, we have stripped the moral substance of our authority in this same fashion, maligning Biblical principles, God, and even prayer. The Ten Commandments are now wrapped in brown paper and hidden beneath the counter along with Playboy and Hustler.

There is no easy, quick fix to what we are witnessing with children today. The solution may be just as complex as the problem. But until we impart to our young ones the fact of a Higher Moral Authority and demonstrate to them just what living on the moral high ground looks like the problem will increase - and so too the heartaches associated with it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Getta Grip

From movies to classrooms; from the banter of friends to the snarl of an enemy, how often do we hear the admonition: "Get a grip!"? For as long as I can remember it's been a well used and now well-worn term, yet in these interesting times it surfaces as an altogether new and worthy bit of advice.

What, exactly, do we mean when we tell someone to get a grip? Obviously it's in response or reaction to something they are doing or not doing, and much of the time it even carries a derisive tone. It's as though the advice is offered to those we think aren't coping well. Perhaps they aren't. But how is it, exactly, that they're to get this grip? And what, exactly, would they be holding onto when once the grip was got? I guess it only seems logical, at least as I perceive it, that we ought to tell them just how to go about the thing we think they ought to be doing.

This may be a quantum leap to some, but another question comes to mind: What is truth? Maybe you're asking: How does truth relate to grip? Good question. Now I have to decide whether to give the long version or the short version...

OK, here's the semi-short version. Today there are more people than not telling me (and you) that truth is relative. Really? Or that perception is reality. Really?

Well, beginning from that premise then, let me say that my perception is that you cannot grip something that doesn't exist or isn't real. For that matter, you can't believe something (or someone) that isn't true unless you're willing, of course, to admit you're given to delusions, or have difficulty distinguishing between fact and fiction. So, in order to get a grip it only stands to reason that one must reach for the real (aka truth). Otherwise why reach at all?

I'm going somewhere with this. Trust me. In keeping with my short version promise, I must offer the one and only truth of which I am certain: Jesus. I know, I know ... that probably offends some of you. But no one and nothing on this planet or anywhere else that I know of ever claimed to be Truth. Not a truth-teller; not a true human; not just true to himself - but T-R-U-T-H personified. Moreover, for the person longing to get a grip, He even promised to never, never, never let go of us when once we accept the extended hand He offers.

Before you laugh this off as preposterous, or write me off as a nut-case, consider just who or what else people might actually reach for in order to get a grip. I've lived long enough to attempt a few of them myself - from positive thinking, to employing time-management skills, to counseling - all good things. On the not-so-good side, there's alcohol, or sex, or work, or emotional imploding. This is hardly an exhaustive list, for truly there are as many ways to get a grip as there are people. But either way, good or harmful, the process of gripping can be fairly short lived given the fact that the thing gripped is often slathered with butter - not at all what it seemed. Some may, in fact, be a cleverly disguised lie.

Bottom line - when you really need a grip, only the truth will do, and only Truth will respond with a grasp you can trust. No derision. No slippage.

Getta grip.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Piranha

Whenever I tune into anything that involves people arguing ferociously (can anyone say "Hannity and Colmes?) the thought of Piranha comes to mind. I've checked with Webster, and this is what he has to say about them : " ... fish that have very sharp teeth, often appear in schools, and include some that may attack and inflict dangerous wounds..." To be sure Webster isn't biased, I also checked out Britannica: "carnivorous fish of South American rivers and lakes, with a somewhat exaggerated reputation for ferocity."

There's something scary about words like "inflict", or "carnivorous" - but they seem to fit the often Piranha-like debates undertaken in the name of everything from global warming to whether diet sodas cause warts. Indeed, there is a distinct propensity for ferocity in public domains today that leaves me somewhat baffled.

In looking over my own now-healing Piranha wounds sustained recently while engaged in an online forum, I am more than a little bit amazed at how swiftly these schools attack and the viciousness with which they pull flesh from bone. Funny thing is, this very forum was comprised largely of people that wanted to tear apart those intolerant and hateful Christians that adhere to the Bible, and that speak out in favor of so doing (or against not doing so). Get this: there's actually something more ferocious than the garden variety Piranha, it's the schizophrenic Piranha! Well, I should have known to don a Piranha-suit for protection. I'm old enough to know better.

We Sassy Granny types sometimes want to believe every sea is filled with cuddle fish. How silly.

P.S. I love Hannity & Colmes

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Virtual Arrival

Well friends, it's time I get with this blogging thing. Nearly everyone I know either posts to, or reads from blogs. There's a whole world most people know of as the "blogosphere" that I rarely enter into. It's time.

I must admit, though, that many of the blogs I've read leave me wondering if this isn't just the newest iteration of narcissim. So I'm going to work very hard at being candid without too much attention to the minutia of my life. I have a keen interest in the condition of today's world, especially the treatment of children. I'm even more passionate about the world's need for the blessings of God - a gift that doesn't come without a price. Likely I'll post a good deal along these lines.

This is now my first official post. It seems I've passed from the real to the virtual - an amazing journey for this Sassy Granny!